Can Syracuse Maintain Its Recent Football Recruiting Success?

Why has a program like Syracuse seen such a boom in commitments this past month?

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As George McDonald would say, “BOOOOM.”

That is the perfect word to describe what the 2015 Syracuse recruiting class has felt like in the past month, accumulating nine verbal commits just in the month of June.

Syracuse had a tough start early in the summer with receiving verbal commits, but now the Orange has 22 total commits in the class, including 2014 commit Lamar Dawson and a player who has apparently committed but has not announced yet.

Syracuse is currently ranked the 27th best class in the 2015 Rivals Team Rankings. For a team that finished 51st last year, this is a tremendous start for the Orange. The main reason for the high ranking is due to the number of commits in the class. Only Boston College has more commits than the Orange among the Top 100 Rivals classes.

One looks at programs like BC and Syracuse and asks how two football programs that consider getting to a bowl game a big success lead college football in recruits in the middle of summer. Is it because more 2- and 3-star recruits are committing earlier on or because more high-profile players are waiting longer in their process to commit—and, more importantly, staying committed to a program?

The answer, in one word, is both.

Syracuse and Boston College both have a similar strategy when recruiting players. Both programs have a tough time even cracking the Top 25 year in and year out. Yet they still play in the same conference that won the National Championship last year. It also helps that the ACC geographic landscape has expanded with conference realignment, giving recruits across the Eastern Seaboard the chance to go to a school in the Northeast, but still get a chance to play in front of family and friends when on the road.

So how does this affect the less touted recruits? Scott Shafer has an attitude that he wants the best recruits that fit his team regardless of their ranking. Syracuse’s forte is spotting lesser-known talent and securing them early in hopes that they will grow their senior season and while at SU. The Orange has been giving offers at their summer camps to recruits who show up and impress. When a recruit with fewer offers sees that first Division I offer, they are quicker to commit than a player who already has several offers from FBS schools and has a tougher decision to make.

Another reason why they believe in the program? Syracuse has had much more success in sending 2-star recruits such as Chandler Jones, Jay Bromley, Arthur Jones and Justin Pugh to the NFL than 4-star players who have not panned out as well, like the 2008 trio of 4-star recruits: Averin Collier, Marcus Sales and Mikhail Marinovich.

As far as higher-profile recruits, some like to get the process over with as soon as possible, while others prefer to play their senior season and wait to see if additional offers roll in. Schools who attract 4- and 5-star recruits have a noticeably lower verbal commit total compared to Syracuse. Michigan only has eight commits; Texas 10. Again, it cannot be stressed enough that it is still very early in the recruiting process, but the recruit total speaks more to Syracuse’s strategy than about a slow start for powerhouse programs.

It is important to remember that the Orange will not stay in the Top 30 classes for too long. There is not enough talent to stay where they are and changes to the class will also certainly occur before National Signing Day in February. Although de-commitments are commonplace in college football, they could see a decrease in the near future with an early signing period being talked about among the NCAA.

Regardless of what could happen in the coming months, Syracuse football recruiting is in a great spot. They have a packed 2015 recruiting class with five months to go until NSD. Although the quality of the class could be better, the Orange recruiting at least has a safety net to rely on.

Posted by: Zephan Mayell

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